Community well-being relies on the strength of individuals and on their relationships with each other. Well-being can mean different things in different communities. By and large, it means that the needs of community members are met, which in turn enables relationships and connectedness to be built. To achieve this at UVA, we must consider the political, social, economic, health, and educational needs of our community.
Social connectedness generates a positive feedback loop to improve physical health, mental and emotional wellbeing. Below are some simple ways to foster connection within your community:
- Become an Active Listener. Some ways to practice active listening include: being neutral and nonjudgmental, showing verbal and nonverbal feedback, and asking clarifying questions.
- Practice Vulnerability. Some ways to practice vulnerability in your daily life include: making eye contact, sharing your struggles and expressing appreciation when felt.
- Become an Ally. Some ways to practice allyship include: asking how you can provide support, and not centering the narrative around yourself.
Livability means that we have the tools to succeed and live well. While we need to meet the immediate needs for livability - including housing, food security, and safety of students - we must continue to recognize and advocate for systemic solutions to the problems.
Work Towards Equity.
An equitable community is one where everyone has the tools they need to thrive. In such a community, everyone is treated with fairness and justice and empowered to participate fully in social, cultural, and economic life.
- Learn along the way. In the process of deepening our understanding of society’s systems of privilege and oppression, we also should reflect on our own identities and experiences, and the roles we play within those systems.
- Know your intentions but own your impact. We should hold ourselves and each other accountable to mindfulness and care in every choice we make. Knowing mistakes may be made along the way, we continue to self-reflect, examine and improve.
- Stepping up by stepping back. We need to understand that it is not our role to say, “Here’s what we want to do to help you,” but instead, “How can we contribute in a way that meaningfully supports you and your work? What is needed? What do you see as our role?”
“Community well-being means that as Hoos, we are cognizant that there is no one definition of a UVA student. We want to build a UVA where multitudes of communities and cultures thrive while also feeling connected and proud of their University.” - E.L. '2021